This time around, the monster with the soul of a poet is R (Nicholas Hoult), a member of the undead who longs to do more than shuffle around and grunt. R immediately falls head over lifeless heels for Julie (Teresa Palmer), a human survivor, when R and other brain-eaters go out looking for loose humans.
R ends up kidnapping Julie and taking her to the airport. (Where else are zombies gonna go to wander around aimlessly? At least, that George Romero didn’t get to first.) There, among other zombies, he dwells in the hopes of courting her, even though the last person he killed and fed on was her boyfriend (Dave Franco).
Strangely enough, he does win her over with his refusal to eat her, not to mention his airplane hangout full of knickknacks he’s collected. He even has a collection of old vinyl records. (Jesus Christ, Hollywood has actually made a movie about a zombie hipster!) For this movie, lovelorn walking corpses like R aren’t the enemy. That would be the Bonies, a crew of advanced, skinless zombies who are just in it for the savage killing.
Let’s just cut the bullshit and call Bodies what it is: Twilight meets The Walking Dead. There’s even a British guy to play the monster and a Kristen Stewart lookalike playing the girl. Nor does the movie hide that, just like Twilight, it’s a variation on Romeo and Juliet. (This one even has a balcony scene!) Director Jonathan Levine (50/50) mostly follows Isaac Marion’s popular book to the letter, basically making a murkily photographed, cloyingly cute post-apocalyptic love story where no one really knows how people disappeared off the face of the earth. (After this film, I don’t ever wanna hear how flimsy the zombie-apocalypse setup was in Zombieland.)
While it seems pointless to take umbrage at the liberties this movie takes with zombie lore — since, y’know, zombies don’t exist and you can pretty much make up anything you want about them — there are still plenty of “Get the fuck outta here!” moments that not even a half-eaten brain would accept. In the movie’s world, it turns out zombies like R have a chance to get back to being human once love is re-introduced into their lives. Somehow, someway, the urge to devour brains is eradicated once you have that special someone by your side.
Considering that Marion is writing a sequel (along with the prequel that’s already out), there is a good chance we’ll get more chapters of this brain-dead saga if Warm Bodies becomes a hit. I’ve been waiting for the day when Hollywood would come along and pussify zombies. With Warm Bodies, that day has finally come.
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